The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has assured the nation that the mealie meal from South Africa produced from Genetically Modified maize is safe for consumption.
NBA Scientific Advisory Committee Chairperson, Sody Munsaka, said the Authority is working with other government institutions to ensure that mealie meal that may contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to be imported and transited through the country is from the maize varieties that have been authorized.
Munsaka in a statement issued on Monday in Lusaka said the Authority, working together with the Ministry of Agriculture, has been notifying anyone importing mealie meal or any other products which may contain GMOs on the need to obtain authorization from the NBA.
He said the NBA had conducted risk assessments on maize and soya varieties from South Africa and have found them to be safe for human and animal consumption.
Munsaka said the Authority has previously granted permits for products made from GMO maize or which may contain GMOs to various distributors and traders in the country.
“We have conducted risk assessments on soya beans and all maize varieties from South Africa and these have been found to be safe for humans, animals and the environment. Therefore, all products including mealie meal produced from the assessed maize varieties are safe for human and animal consumption,” said Munsaka.
He stated that among the products containing GMO, maize or Soya Beans from South Africa, that the Authority has permitted into the country include cornflakes, some soups such as Bisto, premixes, spices, some biscuits, Starch, maize grit and dog food.
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He said risk assessment is the process through which the Scientific Advisory Committee ascertains the safety of products before the Authority grants a permit or rejects an application.
“Therefore, we would like to assure the general public that the mealie meal from the assessed maize by the Scientific Advisory Committee is safe, even if it is spilled or dropped in the country or people accidentally consumed it, it cannot cause any harm based on the comfort ascertained through risk assessment,” Munsaka said.
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